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INTRODUCTION

This provisional translation of the Liturgy of the Presanctified is intended to be practical, rather than critical. It is based for the most part on the 3rd volume of the Hieratikon published by the Monastery of Simonos Petra in 1992, together with second edition of the Greek text published by Professor Phountoulis in 1986 and the 3rd edition of Megali Tessarakosti by the Apostoliki Diakonia in 1991. The earlier edition by Rigopoulis 1977 and the Slavonic  Sluzebnik, Moscow 1996. There are many variations in the various editions and I hope to provide more detailed annotation shortly, together with translations of St Theodore the Studite's Commentary and St Symeon of Thessalonika‘s Answers. The Readers and Singers parts of the service will be found elsewhere on these pages, The Holy and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.


THE DIVINE LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED

When the moment for the service arrives, after the ekphonesis For yours is the kingdom… by the Priest at the beginning of the 9th Hour, the Deacon joins the Priest and they go and make a metania to the Superior, or to his stall. Then, going to the middle of the church, they make three bows, saying,

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

Then, having kissed the holy icons of Christ and the Mother of God, and having asked pardon of the people, the enter the sanctuary, making three bows before the holy Table, saying nothing.

The Priest takes his priestly vestments and puts them on, saying nothing, or only Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen. It is customary not to wear marks of honour, such as pectoral crosses and epigonatia. The Priest blesses the Deacon’s vestments simply with his right hand, likewise saying nothing.

After they have vested they take their stand before the holy Table and make three metanias, saying, O God be merciful to me, a sinner. The Priest, having kissed the holy Gospel and made the sign of the Cross on the Deacon’s head, gives the Dismissal of the 9th Hour.

Then the Deacon begins:

Master, give the blessing.

The Priest, making the sign of the Cross with the holy Gospel, gives the blessing:

Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and always, and to ages of ages.

While the Opening Psalm is recited by the Superior, or Reader, the Priest, standing in front of the holy Table, reads the first four prayers for the Lighting of the Lamps, if there is no Deacon, without their ekphoneses.

When the Opening Psalm is completed the Deacon, outside the Holy Doors, says the:

Litany of Peace

Deacon: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. And so after each petition.

Deacon: For the peace from on high and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy Churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

For this holy house, and for those who enter it with faith, reverence and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.

For our Archbishop N., for the honoured order of presbyters, for the diaconate in Christ, for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.

For our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family, her Government, and all in authority, let us pray to the Lord.

[For our father and superior, Priest-monk N., and all our brotherhood in Christ, let us pray to the Lord.]

For this city, for every city, monastery, town and village, and for the faithful who dwell in them, let us pray to the Lord.

For favourable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and temperate seasons, let us pray to the Lord.

For those who travel by land, air or water, for the sick, the suffering, for those in captivity, and for their safety and salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and constraint, let us pray to the Lord.

Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by your grace.

Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People: To you, O Lord.

While the Deacon is chanting the Litany of Peace, the Priest, in a low voice, says the

1st Prayer at the Lighting of the Lamps

O Lord, compassionate and merciful, long-suffering and full of mercy, listen to our prayer and attend to the voice of our supplication. Make for us a sign for good. Guide us in your way, to walk in your truth. Make glad our hearts to fear your holy Name, because you are great and do wondrous things. You alone are God, and there is none like you, O Lord, among gods: powerful in mercy and loving in strength to help and to console and to save all who hope in your holy Name.

Priest, aloud: For to you belong all glory, honour and worship, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The 18th Kathisma of the Psalter is recited in three sections. While this is being read, the Priest, uncovered, and with the curtain of the Holy Doors shut, goes to the Prothesis and, having washed his hands, takes the Paten, Star and Veil and carries them to the holy Table. Then he places the holy Gospel to the right of the holy Table, unfolds the Antimension and places the Paten on it. He takes one of the Presanctified Breads and places it on the Paten with great attentiveness and devotion. He puts the Star in place and covers it with the Veil, saying nothing, or only Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us. Taking the censer he censes the holy Gifts three times and makes three full prostrations. After this he takes up the Holy Gifts and, circling the holy Table anti-clockwise, he goes to the Prothesis, the Deacon going ahead with a lamp and censing as he goes. The Priest lays the Holy Gifts on the Prothesis. Then he pours wine and water into the Chalice, cover it with the veil, and both Chalice and Paten with the Aer, saying none of the usual prayers of the Prothesis, nor the Prayer of Offering, or only Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us, for the sacrifice is already sanctified and perfected. Then he, having again censed the Holy Gifts three times, he goes and censes the holy Table and whole sanctuary. Then he folds up the Antimension and lays the holy Gospel on it.

After the last Both now and for ever of the 1st section of the Psalter:

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People: To you, O Lord.

The Priest in a low voice says the
2nd Prayer at the Lighting of the Lamps

Lord, do not rebuke us in your anger, nor chastise us in your wrath, but deal with us in accordance with your kindness, physician and healer of our souls. Guide us to the harbour of your will. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts to the knowledge of your truth and grant that the rest of the present day and the whole time of our life may be peaceful and without sin, at the prayers of the holy Mother of God and of all the Saints.

Priest, aloud: For yours is the Might, and yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

After the 2nd Section of the Kathisma.

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. .

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People: To you, O Lord.

The Priest in a low voice says the
3rd Prayer at the Lighting of the Lamps

Lord our God, remember us, sinners and your unprofitable servants, as we call upon your holy Name, and do not put us to shame from the expectation of your mercy, but graciously grant us, Lord, all the requests that are for salvation, and count us worthy to love and to fear you from our whole heart, and in all things to do your will.

Priest, aloud: For yours is the Might, and yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

After the 3rd Section of the Kathisma.

Deacon: Again and again in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People: To you, O Lord.

The Priest in a low voice says the
4th Prayer at the Lighting of the Lamps

O Lord, who are praised by the holy Powers with never silent hymns and unceasing songs of glory, fill our mouth with your praise to give majesty to your holy Name, and give us a part and an inheritance with all who fear you in truth and who keep your commandments, at the prayers of the holy Mother of God and of all your Saints.

Priest: For you are our God, a God of mercy and salvation, and to you we give glory, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The Curtain of the Holy Doors is opened.

At Lord, I have cried the Priest blesses the incense as usual and then, if there is no Deacon, censes first the Prothesis, where the Holy Bread lies, then the holy Table, the Sanctuary and the whole Church.

During the Theotokion, the Entrance with the censer. When a Gospel is to be read, the Entrance is made with it. Standing in the usual place, the Deacon says:

Let us pray to the Lord.

The priest says the Prayer of the Entrance in a low voice.

Prayer of the Entrance

At evening, at morning and at midday we praise, bless and give thanks, and we pray to you, Master of all things, Lord who love mankind: Direct our prayer before you like incense, and do not incline our hearts to words or thoughts of evil, but deliver us from all that hunt down our souls. For our eyes look to you, O Lord, our Lord, and we have hoped in you.

For to you belong all glory, honour and worship, to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Deacon: Master, bless the holy entrance.

The Priest, blessing towards the east, says:

Blessed be the entrance of your holy ones, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Deacon: Amen.

He censes the holy icons and the People and waits for the end of the troparion. When it is finished, he raises the censer, making the sign of the Cross, and exclaims:

Wisdom. Stand upright.

Then we sing
Thanksgiving at the Lighting of the Lamps

An ancient poem, or, as some say, by the martyr Athenogenes.

O joyful light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ. Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and see the evening light, we sing the praise of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is right at all times to hymn you with holy voices, Son of God, giver of life. Therefore the world glorifies you.

[Deacon: (facing the People): Let us attend.

Priest: Peace to all.

Reader: And to your spirit.

Priest: Wisdom!]

Deacon: Evening

Reader: Prokeimenon. Tone … Psalm … [from the Triodion, followed by the Readings]

Deacon: Wisdom!

Reader: The reading is from Genesis [or Exodus].

Deacon: Let us attend.

After the reading:

Priest: Wisdom!

Reader: Prokeimenon. Tone … Psalm…

After the Prokeimenon the Reader says in a loud voice: Command! The Priest, holding a lighted candle with the censer in his right hand, stands facing the holy Table and making the sign of the Cross with the light, says:

Priest: Wisdom! Stand upright!

Then he turns and makes the sign of the Cross with the light over the people, saying:

The Light of Christ shines for all!

Deacon: Wisdom.

Reader: The reading is from Proverbs [or Job]

Deacon: Let us attend.

At the end of the Reading the Priest says: Peace to you.

Reader: And to your spirit.

And at once the Priest, censing the holy Table, begins:

Let my prayer be directed like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

Then, as the Choirs take this up four times alternately, the Priest censes each side of the holy Table, declaiming the verses, which in monasteries are declaimed by the Reader.

1. People: Let my prayer be directed like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

Priest/Reader: Lord, I have cried to you, hear me; give heed to the voice of my supplication when I cry to you.

2. People: Let my prayer be directed like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

Priest/Reader: Set a guard, O Lord, on my mouth; and a strong door about my lips.

3. People: Let my prayer be directed like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

Priest/Reader: Let not my heart incline to evil words; to make excuses for my sins. [Glory. Both now. is often added, erroneously.]

4. People: Let my prayer be directed like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

The Priest, returning to the front of the holy Table, takes up again:

Let my prayer be directed like incense before you …

He goes out through the Holy Doors and censes the Icons and the People as the Choir completes the chant:

The lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.

Then the Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, once.


If there is a ‘feasted’ Saint, the Apostle and Gospel of the Feast (in Holy Week only the Gospel) are now read according the following order,

After the final Let my prayer be directed, the Deacon, or in his absence the Priest, facing the people, says:

Let us attend.

Priest: Peace to all.

Reader: And to your spirit.

Deacon: Wisdom.

The Reader reads the verses of the Prokeimenon.

Deacon: Wisdom.

The Reader reads the title of the Apostle.

Deacon: Let us attend.

The Reader reads the Apostle, and when he has finished the Priest says: Peace to you.

Reader: And to your spirit. Alleluia. (Three times).

While the Alleluia is being sung the Deacon, taking the censer with incense, approaches the Priest, and having received a blessing for the incense he censes the book of the Gospel, the Holy Table all round, the whole sanctuary, the Priest and, coming out a little from the Holy Doors, the principal icons and the People.

The Priest, in a low voice, reads the

Prayer of The Gospel

Master, Lover of mankind, make the pure light of your divine knowledge shine in our hearts and open the eyes of our mind to understand the message of your Gospel. Implant in us the fear of your blessed commandments, so that, having trampled down all carnal desires, we may change to a spiritual way of life, thinking and doing all things that are pleasing to you. For you are the illumination of our souls and bodies, Christ God, and to you we give glory, together with your Father who is without beginning, and your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When he has finished censing, the Deacon puts away the censer. He approaches the Priest, and, holding his Orarion with the tips of his fingers, points to the Holy Gospel as it lies on the Holy Table, bows his head and says in a low voice:

Master, bless the herald of the Good Tidings of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist N.

The Priest blesses him, saying:

May God, through the prayers of the holy, glorious Apostle and Evangelist N., grant you to proclaim the word with much power, for the fulfilling of the Gospel of his Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Deacon: Amen.

And, having bowed with reverence, he takes the Gospel, goes out through the Holy Doors, and preceded by lights makes his way to the Ambo.

Then the Priest at the Holy Doors, facing west, says:

Wisdom. Stand upright. Let us listen to the Holy Gospel. Peace to all.

People: And to your spirit.

Deacon: The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to N.

People: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you.

Priest: Let us attend.

The Deacon chants the Gospel for the day. When it is finished the Priest blesses the Deacon saying:

Peace to you.

People: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you.

The Priest takes the Gospel from the Deacon, kisses it and blesses the people with it. He then replaces it on the Holy Table.


Then the Deacon says the Great Litany:

Litany of Fervent Supplication

Deacon: Let us all say, with all our soul and with all our mind, let us say.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Lord almighty, the God of our fathers, we pray you, hear and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Have mercy on us, O God, according to your great mercy, we pray you, hear and have mercy.

People: Lord, have mercy. (Three times. And so after the remaining petitions)

Deacon: Also we pray for our Archbishop N.

Also we pray for our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, the royal family, her government and all in authority.

[Also we pray for our father and superior, Priest-monk N., the Priests, Priest-monks, Deacon-monks and all our brotherhood in Christ.]

Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and forgiveness of sins for the servants of God, all devout and Orthodox Christians, those who dwell in or visit this city and parish, the wardens and members of this church and their families; [and for the servants of God N. & N. (Here the Deacon may name those for whom he has been asked to pray), and all who have asked for our prayers, unworthy though we are.]

Again we pray for the blessed and ever-remembered founders of this holy church, and for all our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest before us, and who lie asleep here in the true faith; and for the Orthodox everywhere[, and for the servants of God N. & N. (Here the Deacon may name those for whom he has been asked to pray), and that they may be pardoned all their offences, both voluntary and involuntary].

Again we pray for those who bring offerings, those who care for the beauty of this holy and venerable house, for those who labour in its service, for those who sing, and for the people here present, who await your great and rich mercy.

The Priest, in a low voice, says the following

Prayer of Supplication

Lord, our God, accept this fervent supplication from your servants, and have mercy on us according to the multitude of your mercy; and send down your pity on us and on all your people, who await your rich mercy.

Priest, aloud: For you, O God, are merciful and love mankind, and to you we give glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Deacon: Catechumens, pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. And so to each petition as the Priest is praying.

Deacon: Believers, let us pray for the catechumens.

That the Lord will have mercy on them.

Instruct them in the word of truth.

Reveal to them the Gospel of righteousness.

Unite them to his Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Save them, have mercy on them, help them and keep them, O God, by your grace.

Catechumens, bow your heads to the Lord.

People: To you, O Lord.

While this litany is being said, the Priest, taking the holy Gospel and making the sign of the Cross with it over the Antimension, places it towards the back of the holy Table and, in a low voice, says the

Prayer for the Catechumens

God, our God, creator and maker of all things, who wish all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, look upon your servants the catechumens, and deliver them from the ancient error and trickery of the foe. Call them to eternal life, enlightening their souls and bodies and numbering them with your rational flock, on which your holy named has been invoked.

Priest, aloud: That they also, with us, may glorify your all-honoured and majestic name, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always, and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The Priest opens the Antimension.

Deacon: As many as are Catechumens, depart. Catechumens, depart.


Litany for those Preparing for Enlightenment

From the Wednesday of the 4th week of the Fast after Catechumens, depart the Litany for those Preparing for Enlightenment added.

Deacon: As many as are preparing for Enlightenment, draw near. Those who are preparing for Enlightenment pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. (And so after the following petitions)

Deacon: Believers, for our brethren who are preparing for holy Enlightenment, let us pray to the Lord.

That the Lord our God may give them strength and power.

Enlighten them with the light of knowledge and true religion.

Count them worthy in due time of the bath of rebirth, the forgiveness of sins and the garment of incorruption.

Give them rebirth through water and Spirit.

Grant them the perfection of the Faith.

Number them with his holy and chosen flock.

Save them, have mercy on them, help them and keep them, O God, by your grace.

Those preparing for Enlightenment, bow your heads to the Lord.

People: To you, O Lord.

Prayer for those preparing for Enlightenment

Manifest your countenance, Master, to those preparing for holy Enlightenment and who long to shake off the defilement of sin. Illumine their understanding; confirm them in the Faith; establish them in Hope, perfect them in Love; show them to be honourable members of your Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for our souls.

(Aloud) For you are our enlightenment, and to you we give glory, to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Deacon: As many as are preparing for Enlightenment, depart. Those who are preparing for Enlightenment, depart.


As many as are Catechumens, depart. None of the Catechumens. As many as are Believers. Again and again, in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy upon us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Wisdom.

Priest, in a low voice:

First Prayer of the Faithful,
after the unfolding of the Antimension

O God, who are great and to be praised, who have brought us from corruption to incorruption by the life-giving death of your Christ, free all our senses from the death of the passions, setting over them as a good leader the thought that comes from within. Let the eye abstain from every evil sight, the hearing give no entrance to idle words, the tongue be cleansed of unfitting speech. Purify our lips, Lord, that praise you. Make our hands keep from base actions, to perform only such things as are well-pleasing to you, making all our limbs and our mind secure by your grace.

(Aloud) For to you are due all glory, honour and worship, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always, and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Deacon: Again and again, in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy upon us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Wisdom.

Priest, in a low voice:

Second Prayer of the Faithful

Holy Master, supremely good, we implore you, the One rich in mercy, to take pity on us sinners and make us worthy of the reception of your only begotten Son and our God, the king of glory. For see, his most pure Body and life-giving Blood, that are entering at this present hour, are about to be set forth on this mystical table, invisibly escorted by a multitude of the heavenly host. Grant us communion in them that is without condemnation, so that, with the eye of our mind illumined through them, we may become children of the light.

(Aloud): According to the gift of your Christ, with whom you are blessed, together with your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Instead of the Cherubic Hymn the following is sung.

Now the hosts of heaven invisibly worship with us; for see, the King of Glory enters. See, the perfected mystical sacrifice is being borne in. Alleluia.

Then the Priest, (or, according to the more ancient practice, the Deacon) saying to himself Psalm 50, censes the holy Table, the Prothesis and the whole sanctuary, the icons and the people as always, the Deacon standing opposite him as usual. The Priest and Deacon bow and, having asked pardon of the People, they go to the Prothesis, which the Priest censes. They make three metanias, saying to themselves, O God, cleanse me a sinner and have mercy on me.

The Priest takes the Aer and places it on his head; then he takes the holy Paten and the holy Chalice and makes the great entrance, saying nothing, or only, Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us, the Deacon going before him with a candle and censing the Holy Gifts. On reaching the Altar, the Priest places them on the holy Table in the usual way. He removes the veils and covers them with Aer only, saying nothing. He censes them three times and, with the Deacon, makes three metanias.

After the Entrance, during which all prostrate to the ground, is sung:

With faith and love, let us draw near that we may become partakers of everlasting life. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Holy Doors are shut and the Curtain shut half way.

Then the Prayer of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, once.

At once the Deacon says:

Let us complete our evening prayer to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

For the precious gifts here set forth and presanctified, let us pray to the Lord.

That our God, who loves mankind, having accepted them on his holy, heavenly and spiritual altar, as a sweet-smelling savour of spiritual fragrance would send down upon us his divine grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit, let us pray.

For our deliverance from all tribulation, wrath, danger and constraint, let us pray to the Lord.

Help us, save, have mercy on us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

That the whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us ask the Lord.

People: Grant this, O Lord.

Deacon: An Angel of peace, faithful guide, guardian of our souls and bodies, let us ask of the Lord.

Pardon and remission of our sins and offences, let us ask of the Lord.

Things that are good, and profitable for our souls, and peace in the world, let us ask of the Lord.

That the rest of our life may be spent in peace and repentance, let us ask of the Lord.

A Christian end to our life, without pain, without shame and peaceful, and a good defence before the dread judgement seat of Christ, let us ask.

Having asked for the unity of the faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit, let us entrust ourselves and each other and our whole life to Christ our God.

[In some editions, instead of the above petition: Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.]

 People: To you, O Lord.

The priest bows and says the following prayer after setting the Holy Gifts on the holy Table.

O God of ineffable and unseen mysteries, with whom are the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who have revealed to us the service of this ministry and through your great love for humankind appointed us sinners to offer you gifts and sacrifices for our own sins and those committed in ignorance by the people, do you, invisible king, who do great and unfathomable things, things glorious an extraordinary that are without number, look upon us, your unworthy servants, who stand before this your holy altar, as before the throne of the Cherubim, on which, though the dread mysteries here set forth, rests your Son and our God. And, having freed us and your faithful people from all uncleanness, sanctify the souls and bodies of us all with a sanctification that cannot be taken away, so that receiving communion of these divine and holy things with a pure conscience, a face unashamed, an enlightened heart and being given life them, we may be united to your Christ, our true God, who said, ‘One who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in them’. So that, with your Word, Lord, dwelling in us and living among us, we may become a temple of your holy and adorable Spirit, having been rescued from every wile of the devil effected by word or deed or in the mind; and that we may obtain the good things promised to us, with all your Saints, who have been well-pleasing to you since time began.

(Aloud): And count us worthy, Master, with boldness and without condemnation, to dare to call upon you, the God of heaven, as Father, and to say:

The Superior, or the designated monk:

Our Father in heaven, may your name be hallowed, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest: For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Peace to all.

People: And to your spirit.

Deacon: Let us bow our heads to the Lord.

People: To you, O Lord.

Priest:

Prayer at the Bowing of Heads

O God, alone good and compassionate, who dwell on high and watch over lowly things, with a compassionate eye look upon all your people, guard them and make us all worthy to partake uncondemned of these your life-giving mysteries. For to you we have bowed our heads, awaiting from you rich mercy.

(Aloud): Through the grace and mercy and love for mankind of your only-begotten Son, with whom you are blessed, together with your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest

Give heed, Lord Jesus Christ our God, from your holy dwelling-place and from the glorious throne of your kingdom; and come to sanctify us, you who are enthroned on high with the Father and invisibly present here with us. And with your mighty hand grant communion in your most pure Body and precious Blood to us, and through us to all the people.

The Priest bows three times, saying, O God cleanse me a sinner, and have mercy on me. Then the Deacon exclaims:

Let us attend.

The Priest, with the Holy Gifts still covered, placing his hand on the life-giving Bread, not raising it completely, for it is presanctified, exclaims:

The presanctified Holy Things for the holy.

People: One is Holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Communion Chant:

O taste and see that the Lord is good. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Deacon, having entered the Sanctuary, ties his orarion in the form of a Cross and standing on the right of the Priest says:

Master, break the holy Bread.

The Priest divides the Lamb into four parts, saying:

The Lamb of God is broken and distributed, broken yet not divided, ever eaten yet never consumed, but sanctifies those who partake.

He arranges them on the Paten in the form of a Cross, thus:

IC

NI             KA

XC

The Deacon points to the Chalice with his Orarion and says:

Master, fill the holy Cup.

The Priest takes the portion of the Lamb stamped with the letters IC and makes the sign of the Cross with it above the holy Chalice and places it in it, saying:

Fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Deacon: Amen.

He takes the hot water and says to the Priest:

Master, bless the hot water.

The Priest blesses it, saying:

Blessed is the fervour of your holy things, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Deacon pours the hot water into the Chalice in the form of a cross, saying:

Fervour of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

He asks the forgiveness of those in the Sanctuary and the rest of the church. Then he approaches the Holy Table and says: Behold, I draw near to Christ, our immortal King and God.

He takes a portion of the precious Body of Christ, from the part stamped with the letters XC, and says: To me the unworthy Priest [and Monk] N. is granted communion in the precious and all-holy Body of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life.

And he receives the Holy Bread with fear and great care; and having wiped his hand over the Paten with the sponge he says:

Deacon, draw near.

The Deacon, as he approaches, says: Behold, I draw near to Christ, our immortal King and God. Grant me, Master, communion in the precious and all-holy Body of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life. The Priest gives the Deacon a portion of the Holy Bread from the part stamped with XC and says: To you, the devout Deacon [and Monk] N. is granted communion in the precious and all-holy Body of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and for eternal life.

The Deacon kisses the Priest's hand, goes to the back of the Holy Table, and communicates like the Priest.

Then the Priest takes the Chalice, with the Communion cloth, and says: To me the unworthy Priest [and Monk] N. is granted communion in the precious and all-holy Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life. He drinks three times from the Chalice, wipes his lips and the Chalice with the cloth, and kisses the Chalice, saying: This has touched my lips: it will take away my iniquities and cleanse my sins.

Then he says: Deacon, again draw near. The Deacon, having carefully wiped his hand over the Paten with the Sponge, approaches, saying: Behold, again I draw near to Christ, our immortal King and God. Grant me, Master, communion in the precious and all-holy Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life.

The Priest takes the Chalice, with the Communion cloth, and communicates the Deacon three times, saying: To you, the devout Deacon [and Monk] N. is granted communion in the precious and all-holy Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins and for eternal life. Then he says: This has touched your lips: it will take away your iniquities and cleanse your sins.

Then the Deacon, when the Priest has divided the two remaining parts of the Lamb (NI and KA) into small pieces, places them in the Chalice, which he covers with the Communion cloth .He places the Star and the Veils on the Paten and then lays the Spoon on top of the covered Chalice.

The Holy Doors are opened and the Priest hands the Chalice to the Deacon, who comes out through the Holy Doors, holding the Chalice, and says:

With fear of God, with faith and love, draw near.

People: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. The Lord is God and has appeared to us.

The Deacon hands the Chalice to the Priest, who gives Communion to the People, saying to each communicant:

The servant of God N. is granted communion in the precious and all-holy Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life.

When all have communicated, the Priest hands the Chalice to the Deacon, who places it on the holy Table again.

The Priest blesses the People with his hand, saying:

O God, save your people and bless your inheritance.

People: I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall always be in my mouth. Taste the heavenly Bread and the Cup of life, and see that the Lord is good. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Deacon says to the Priest: Master, exalt.

The Priest censes the Chalice three times, saying each time: Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; and your glory over all the earth.

Then he gives the Paten, with the covers and the Star, to the Deacon, who shows them to the People and then takes them to the table of the Prothesis, going round behind the Holy Table. He then unties his orarion.

The Priest bows, takes the Chalice and [says in a low voice: Blessed is our God, and] then turns to the People, shows them the Chalice and continues, aloud:

Always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

People: Amen. Amen. Amen. For forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Let our mouth be filled with your praise, O Lord, that we may sing your glory, for you have allowed us to share in your holy, divine, immortal and life-giving mysteries. Keep us in your holiness, that we may meditate on your justice all the day long. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Priest: Stand upright. Having received the divine, holy, pure, immortal, heavenly, life-giving and dread Mysteries of Christ, let us give worthy thanks to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. [Or, according to Athonite use: Glory to you, O God, glory to you.]

Priest: Help us, save us, have mercy upon us and keep us, O God, by your grace.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: Having asked that the whole evening may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us entrust ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

People: To you, O Lord.

Priest:

Prayer after Communion

We thank you, God the Saviour of all things, for all the good things you have granted us and for the communion of the holy Body and Blood of your Christ. And we pray you, Master who love mankind, guard us under the shadow of your wings and grant us, until our last breath, to partake worthily of your holy gifts, for enlightenment of soul and body and for inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.

(Aloud): For you are our sanctification, and to you we give glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and to ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest: Let us go forth in peace.

People: In the name of the Lord.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest:

Prayer behind the Ambo

Master almighty, who fashioned creation with wisdom and through your ineffable forethought and great goodness have brought us to these most holy days for the cleansing of souls and bodies, for mastery of the passions, for hope of resurrection; who through forty days entrusted to your servant Moses the Tables of the Law in letters divinely traced, grant us also, good Master, to fight the good fight, to finish the course of the fast, to keep the faith intact, to smash the heads of invisible serpents and without condemnation to reach and to worship your holy Resurrection.

(Aloud): For blessed and glorified is your all-honoured and majestic name, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

After the prayer behind the Ambo: Amen. Blessed be the name of Lord, from this time forth and for evermore. (Three times)

The Priest goes to the Prothesis and says the following prayer in a low voice:

Lord our God, who have brought us to these most holy days, and have made us communicants of your dread mysteries, join us to your rational flock and declare us to be heirs of your kingdom, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Priest: The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through his divine grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever, and to ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

And the Priest gives the Dismissal:
Glory to you, Christ God, our hope, glory to you.

Reader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy (x3). Holy Father, give the blessing.

And the Priest continues:

May Christ our true God, at the prayers of his most pure and holy Mother; by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, through the protection of the honoured, Bodiless Powers of heaven, through the intercessions of the honoured, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John, of the holy, glorious and all-praised Apostles, of the holy, glorious and triumphant Martyrs, of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers and Mothers; of the holy and righteous forebears of God, Joachim and Anne; of Saint N. [the patron of the church], of Saint N., whose memory we celebrate; [of our Father among the Saints Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome, whose liturgy we have celebrated,] and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for he is good and loves mankind.

Then, while the Priest distributes the Antidoron, the Reader says: Glory. Both now.

Psalm 33

I will bless the Lord continually, his praise will always be in my mouth.

My soul will be praised in the Lord; let the meek hear it and rejoice.

Magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord and he heard me, and delivered me from all my afflictions.

Come to him and be enlightened, and your faces will not be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him from all his afflictions.

The angel of the Lord will encamp round those who fear him, and deliver them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed the one who hopes in him!

Fear the Lord, all you his holy ones, for those who fear him never want.

The rich have become poor and gone hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not be deprived of any good.

Come, children, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Who is there who wants life, loves to see good days?

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the just, and his ears towards their supplication.

The Lord’s face is set against those who do evil, to destroy their memory from the earth.

The just cried and the Lord heard them, and delivered them from all their afflictions.

The Lord is close to those who are broken-hearted, and will save the humble in spirit.

The afflictions of the just are many, but the Lord will deliver them from them all.

The Lord guards all their bones, not one of them will be broken.

The death of sinners is evil, and those who hate the just will go astray.

The Lord will rescue the souls of his servants, and no one of those who hope in him will go astray.

Psalm 144

I will exalt you, my God, my King; and I will bless your name for ever and to age on age.

Every day I will bless you; and praise your name for ever and to age on age.

The Lord is great and highly to be praised; and there is no limit to his greatness.

Generation after generation will praise your works; and will declare your power.

They will tell of the majesty of the glory of your holiness; and will recount your wonders.

They will speak of the power of your dread deeds; and will recount your greatness.

They will proclaim the memory of the multitude of your goodness; and rejoice in your justice.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful; long-suffering and full of mercy.

The Lord is good to all; and his acts of compassion are for all his works.

May all your works confess you, Lord; and all your holy ones bless you.

They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; and tell of your power.

To make known your power and of the glory the majesty of your kingdom to the children of mankind.

Your kingdom is a kingdom for all the ages, and your dominion for every generation.

The Lord is faithful in all his words, and holy in all his works.

The Lord supports all who are falling, and sets upright all who are broken down.

The eyes of all hope in you, and you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand, and fill every living thing with your good pleasure.

The Lord is just in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

The Lord is close to those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

He will do the will of those who fear him, and hear their supplication and save them.

The Lord guards all who love him, and all sinners he will destroy.

My mouth will tell the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and to age on age.

Turning to the East, the Priest says:

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

People: Amen.


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Archimandrite Ephrem ©

This page was last updated on 03 November 2008